San Francisco Trolley Dances returns in October
Epiphany Dance Theater has announced the schedule for the 19th Annual San Francisco Trolley Dances (SFTD) on October 22-23. Led by Epiphany Artistic Director Kim Epifano and General Manager Zoë Klein, this year’s route connects San Francisco’s market south to Chinatown along the city’s new central subway, the Muni T- Line.
Participating artists include Ballet22, Charya Burt, Flying Angels Chinese Dance Company, Grrrl Brigade and Megan Lowe Dances, in addition to Epiphany Dance Theatre. A total of 10 tours are scheduled over the weekend from the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts at 10:15 a.m., 11 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 1:15 p.m. Each tour from South Market to Chinatown takes about two hours.
Additionally, the public has the option to only watch the second half of the tour from Woh Hei Yuen Park located at 1 John St in Chinatown. Half-tour start times are 11:45 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:15 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 2:45 p.m. Half tours last 45 minutes to an hour and end at Portsmouth Bridge at the Chinese Cultural Centre.
Admission to SFTD is free with RSVP. Reservations will be available at epiphanydance.net/san-francisco-trolley-dances from the beginning of September.
“This year, we are proud to honor the inauguration of the new extension of the Muni Central Metro Line T, from SoMa to Chinatown,” said Epifano. “This expansion recognizes the importance of San Francisco’s Asian and immigrant communities who have contributed so much to the city’s vibrancy and economic growth,” Klein added.
Each year, Epiphany Dance Theater pairs Bay Area-based artists and ensembles with specific venues, inviting them to create an 8- to 12-minute piece in response to the physical environment, architecture, and culture. history of the region. The first performance of this year’s tour will be at the East Garden at Yerba Buena Gardens, located directly across from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Ballet22, founded by Roberto Vega Ortiz and Theresa Knudson, was chosen for this site. The two-year-old company has garnered national attention for its ensemble of cis-male, trans and non-binary dancers who perform en pointe. Named to Dance Magazine’s 2022 list of dance creators to watch, “Ballet22 overturns the rules of ballet regarding who can dance, what they can dance, and how they can dance” (Dance Magazine). For SFTD, Ballet22 is working with Durante Verzola, a freelance choreographer who has produced ballets for Miami City Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Joffrey Studio Company and Ballet Chicago, among others.
From the East Garden, participants will walk to the Oche Wat Te Ou Reflection Garden at Yerba Buena Gardens, an area for poetry readings, storytelling, and other oral tradition events, as well as a memorial at the Ohlone Indian Cemetery which once existed in this area. Charya Burt, renowned performer and singer of Cambodian classical dance, will perform at this site. The Dance/USA Fellow and Izzie Award winner has been performing in the United States since 1993.
Next on the tour is the Grrrl Brigade performing at the Children’s Creativity Museum. Grrrl Brigade is a dance leadership program that empowers women through dance. With members ages 9 to 18, the program offers classes in modern dance, taiko drumming, hip hop, belly dancing, and social justice rooted in feminist thought.
From the Children’s Creativity Museum, the tour then moves to Chinatown. Attendees will enter the brand new Yerba Buena/Moscone Center station at 4th and Folsom streets, and alight at the new Chinatown/Rose Pak station at Stockton and Washington streets.
The Flying Angels have been based in San Francisco for over 30 years. Under the direction of Kim Toriumi-Quon, the company will perform a new work choreographed by company member Kevin Wong, which blends traditional Chinese dance technique with a range of other styles, including hip hop, ballet and capoeira. The Flying Angels will perform at Woh Hei Yuen Park located between John and Powell streets.
As a self-proclaimed “fierce dancer of Chinese and Irish descent”, Megan Lowe has performed with numerous local dance companies including Flyaway Productions, Lenora Lee Dance, Lizz Roman & Dancers, as well as Epiphany Dance Theatre. Under the banner of Megan Lowe Dances, she explores her own aesthetic of movement, an explosive mix of contact improvisation, partnership and vocalization. For SFTD this year, Lowe will be joined by artists Brenton Cheng, Shira Yaziv, Sonsherée Giles, among others, at Willy “Woo Woo” Wong Playground.
Finally, Epiphany Dance Theater will perform along Portsmouth Bridge at the Chinese Cultural Center. For this year’s performance, Epifano invited Joey Chang aka Cello Joe to collaborate. Chang’s signature style combines classical cello with beatboxing, looping and vocals.
In addition to taking public transport, participants have the option of getting to the performance sites on their own on foot or by bike. Road maps will be available on site and online at epiphanydance.net/san-francisco-trolley-dances. As in the past, video on demand for this year’s tour will be available to the public starting November 5.
ABOUT SAN FRANCISCO CHARIOT DANCES
San Francisco Trolley Dances (SFTD) is produced by Epiphany Dance Theater, founded by Kim Epifano in 1997. An annual event now in its 19th year, SFTD is presented free to the public for one weekend each October. Epifano and Executive Director Zoë Klein are organizing the large-scale, site-specific event, working to support a public-private partnership that involves the San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority, several Bay Area professional artists and ensembles, as well as neighborhoods and community sites where the route is placed each year. SFTD aims to introduce audiences to new neighborhoods and new dance companies that reflect a range of sensibilities, cultures and styles, and the event functions as a creative laboratory for groups of six to seven choreographers each year. The unpredictable sounds and sights of San Francisco intertwine with the spontaneity of audience response to ensure a dynamic and meaningful experience for audiences and performers.
“Kids on Track,” directed by Kayla May Paz Suarez, is SFTD’s educational programming arm that has served Bay Area students from elementary school through college through demonstrations and workshops. at school led by teacher artists. On October 21, Kids on Track students and their teachers are invited to attend SFTD performances during booked tours culminating in a conversation with the featured artists.
For more information, visit epiphanydance.net/san-francisco-trolley-dances.